If Northern Ireland were subject to the British government and Parliament in Westminster, there would be no government at the local level. This part of Britain has not had its own prime minister since the dawn of history, and after the May elections there is not even a new government.
The general election, which had been scheduled for mid-December, will not eventually take place. And the uncertainty in the country, complicated by both the past and the current situation after Brexit, will continue for at least another year.
The British government minister for Northern Ireland, Chris Heaton Harris, initially requested that the Northern Ireland elections be held as soon as possible after the post-election crash. And so the preparations began: the date was December 15, and there were six thousand volunteers who were supposed to participate in the elections in six hundred polling stations.
But last week Heaton-Harris, among other Brexiteers, came up with a very different proposal: New elections should be postponed for now.
In this case, British election law postpones the general election until January 19 at the latest. This does not guarantee that elections will even actually take place: it is also assumed that there is a possibility that the British government would prefer a change of law to an election at that time. Westminster is still preparing the appropriate law for Northern Ireland (for the second law this year), and it may change the rules for calling an election there.
According to Belfast, the most likely outcome would be that Heaton-Harris, ex officio, would be able to set the date for a new election. That would give him the option not to even call new elections.
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Due to the impact of peace on the island, the unicameral Parliament of Northern Ireland was created in such a way that two major political parties share power in it: the Federalist Party, whose political priority is to maintain and strengthen close relations with London, and on the other hand, the Republican Sinn Féin , who, on the other hand, created a common state with neighboring Ireland.
Since the Great Kopten Agreement in 1998, which ended decades of conflict on the island, unionists have won the last fifteen years of Northern Ireland elections. When Republicans beat them with a parliamentary mandate in May this year, it was a very difficult time for them. In the past, it was especially important that it would be difficult to form a new government.
Now it turns out that under the current conditions this was impossible. The elections were not only about the distribution of power in the regional parliament, but also about the decision for the new border regime after Brexit.
The first border between Ireland and Northern Ireland became the border between Britain and the European Union, according to the exit agreement negotiated and implemented by then Prime Minister Boris Johnson with the European Union. After the British government and Parliament accepted this agreement, they found that it was not ideal for Britain. So he is unilaterally trying to change him and reject his basics.
Thus, the DUP set a change to the Northern Ireland Protocol as a condition for joining the new government. Neither of them happened. What is it all about?
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On the way, there are persistent disagreements over a post-Brexit settlement, the center of which is first for long Northern Ireland: the United Kingdom, from which it has effectively seceded. Our only land border is in the south with neighboring Ireland, which is a member of the European Union.
After ten years of internal fighting on the island of Ireland, a peace agreement was signed in the late 1990s. However, the exit agreement on Britain’s withdrawal from the European Union and the so-called Northern Ireland protocol, which is its component part, dictate leaving here. This regulates, among other things, the movement of goods between the European Union and other countries, which are now Britain and Northern Ireland.
The British government is now trying to unilaterally change the Northern Ireland protocol, thus violating the Brexit agreement with the European Union. First, disagreements over how to implement the Northern Risks Protocol and related trade rules were the crux of the disputes and the main reason that a government could not be formed even half a year after the elections in Northern Ireland. DUP wants to scrap the protocol, but Sinn Fin doesn’t.
The current plan is to go into spring at the latest and hold elections in Northern Ireland by the end of May, at the same time as the regional elections in Britain. Given the consequences of a new British unilateral breach of protocol, including the election of a trade wolf with the EU, it was decided to go further.
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